GOLETA, Calif. - A handful of suspected thieves, linked to a hefty theft ring, were arrested Tuesday in Goleta.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's officials are crediting a hawk-eyed citizen for helping break the case after spotting a suspicious grey Toyota Camry parked at Girsh Park near the baseball fields Tuesday morning.
Deputies later tracked down the vehicle at a hotel off Storke Road in Goleta.
They found a man standing outside of the car with four people inside. It quickly became apparent that the group was under the influence of drugs; deputies say they spotted several syringes in plain view.
The five were detained while deputies search the car. Sheriff's officials say it was packed with thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise, including brand-new, name-brand shirts, designer jeans, purses, wallets and backpacks.
There were also numerous bottles of expensive perfume, costume jewelry and home security cameras.
Deputies also found stolen credit cards, wallets, and burglary tools; wire cutters, screwdrivers, flashlights and binoculars as well as a small amount of heroin and drug paraphernalia.
The suspects were identified as 23-year-old Michael Stewart of Santa Barbara who was on parole, 26-year-old Brennan Stevens of Lompoc who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, 29-year-old Ryan Stevens of Thousand Oaks, 29-year-old Skye Fabing who was on probation and 27-year-old Amanda Dicey of Lompoc who provided a false identity to deputies and had multiple warrants for her arrest.
All five suspects were booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on their outstanding warrants, conspiracy, possession of stolen property, identity theft, possession of burglary tools, possession of drug paraphernalia and narcotics possession.
The Sheriff's Office is actively investigating the case to determine where the stolen items came from.
If you have any information that would assist investigators, call the Sheriff's Office at 805-683-2724 or to leave an anonymous tip, call 805-681-4171.